Out of the Literary Closet: A Tolkien Story
The purpose of this thread is to publish, bit by bit, my story about Tolkien, his friendship with Mary Renault, and his suppressed bisexual desires. It is speculative fiction so please don't flame me, I'm being serious but also being creative at the same time. We don't know for sure if Tolkien really was or wasn't bisexual, but if he really was then he never would have expressed his desires physically. This story aims to delve into his psyche and contemplate his private speculated thoughts. Don't worry, there's no sex, it's all speculative. Please let me know if anything doesn't seem accurate; I want this to be a accurate, factually based, story. Enjoy :)
He was gone, long gone. He was no longer welcome at their table.
‘Why doesn’t Carl come over for dinner anymore?’ asked his daughter, Priscilla.
‘He moved away,’ was all her father had in answer.
Whenever they went through the family photo album they missed his face. He disappeared from their lives. Priscilla would sit beside her father and ask about the missing photos: ‘Who was in this photo? Why did you and mummy take it out?’
He would tell her that they were pictures of his long dead parents whose young and happy faces he no longer desired to see. They never met their grandparents. But in truth they were photos of him with the family. Edith burned them; she removed him from their life. All he had left with was memory and a hole in his heart. And his writing, his friend could only live on through his written words. He was everywhere in different characters. He wrote about him more than he did his wife.
At night, he would finger his rosary beads and pray that they might meet again in Heaven. He prayed that their sins may be atoned and their souls renewed. But did his friend even believe in God? Ronald did not know. He prayed for his friend’s soul, that God would not see his love as sin. Jesus said to love your neighbour. And that was all he did: love. They were not the days of the Old Testament, of Sodom and Gomorrah. Everything was new, including love.
Chapter One: The Professor
It was Michaelmas Term, 1925, and Mary had just turned twenty. She was to start her first term at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. St Hugh’s was a college solely for women. Mary was to major in English. There was much division in the English department all throughout Oxford. The rift existed between English Language and English Literature. No reconciliation could be brought about, not until 1927 when the Professor stepped in.
But for the present the rift existed. And the dry old English Classics were taught just as dryly as they had always been. No one, not even Mary, expected a revival. The English Classics were as dead as the failed fourteenth century alliterative revival.
During the first week, no tutorials were held. Instead, an introductory lecture was given outlining what was to be taught that term and what was expected of such fine young women. Mary found this lecture dry and boring, but listened well for it was of importance.
The next week tutorials began. Mary looked at her timetable. Her tutor’s name was Tolkien. How does one pronounce that name? she thought as she made her way to the tutorial room.
He was a short man, this Tolkien, with a clean-shaven face and fair hair just beginning to recede. His voice was one that muttered and mumbled, but was deep and rolling at the same time. The students would have to get used to his way of speaking. He announced that his name was pronounced Tol-keen. Mary made a mental note of this.
Since they were learning English Classics, the most natural place to start was with Beowulf. Mary liked the poem, the Dark Ages moved something hidden deep within her to what one could term ‘joy’. It was a mysterious, yet beautiful poem (a point that Tolkien made clear) and held a lovely primeval wildness in its alliterating lines.
The Professor, as the students called him (his name being strange and foreign to some of the girls’ tongues), read out loud the first few lines of Beowulf. His pronunciation was perfect and clear, his voice as rolling as the green hills surrounding Oxford. To say that no student was moved would be a lie; something was stirred in every girls’ heart. Tolkien went on to discuss the importance of the poem in not just history, but art. And so it was an important piece of beautiful art penned by, perhaps, the great Heorrenda himself. That first tutorial opened a new chapter in Mary’s life: she was to be a writer.
It was true that she had already begun writing her own stories, but nothing as ambitious as this novel that now formed itself in her imagination. It was to be set in the Early Medieval period, the Dark Ages. There would be gallant knights and duels; dragons and magic; princesses and romance. Beowulf and all else she studied with Tolkien set her imagination alight as nothing ever before had done.
And so she set to work, creating her own Dark Ages world, page by page. She was an ambitious writer, creating entire landscapes and histories with just a few words or sentences. A single word could paint an image in the reader’s mind that would stay with them and would be shaped to fit their taste. That was, Tolkien taught, the free will of the reader.
As the weeks went by, they read many more English Classics. Mary’s especial favourite was Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She loved the King Arthur stories even more than she loved Beowulf. King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table were a shining light in a world so often portrayed as dark and primitive.
Even if you're only a boy you can fight like a girl. ~ EA <X3